Blindside protection may be key to Rams’ offense in 2017

Analyst Mike Cahill explains how the pair of Andrew Whitworth and Roger Saffold should fare on Jared Goff's left.

| 1 month ago
Roger Saffold

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Blindside protection may be key to Rams’ offense in 2017

  • The Los Angeles Rams’ blindside protection looks to be a strength heading into the 2017 season after adding Andrew Whitworth (from Cincinnati) beside improved left guard Rodger Saffold.
  • Saffold’s lowest-graded season came in 2015; he was injured after playing five games, all at right guard.
  • 2016 was only the third time Saffold has played more than 650 snaps in a season. It was also the first time he graded above 80.0 overall in such seasons.
  • In two seasons at Cal during the PFF era, current Rams quarterback Jared Goff had nine games where he was sacked one or less times. He went 6-3 in those games and threw for 31 TDs (and six interceptions).

Los Angeles Rams blindside protection

  • Andre Taylor

    At first glance you don’t see the Rams has having a good offense, especially with the struggles of #1 overall pick Jared Goff. However if you take a closer look, along with the hiring of former OC for the Redskins, now HC Sean McVay. The Rams quietly maybe on to something, one of the best moves of the off-season that no one is talking about is the signing of pro-bowl LT Andrew Whitworth. Although 35-years-old, Whitworth over the last 5 years has been a top 5 LT. The signing of Whitworth improves the Rams O-line at 2 different positions, with Whitworth anchoring the blindside the Rams can move struggling former LT Greg Robinson to either RG or RT. More than likely Robinson will be moved to RG, a position that allows the big mauler to use his size and strength to move DT’s out of the way. Pairing Whitworth with a healthy LG Rodger Safford, Tim Barnes at C, Robinson at RG, and steady Rob Havenstein at RT should give Goff abd cleaner pocket and RB Todd Gurley better running lanes. Then the Rams went into the draft to give McVay the weapons he would need to mimic the offense he had in Washington, selecting TE Gerald Everett who looks very much like a Jordan Reed clone. Both oversized WR, who will never be inline blocking TE’s, but can be moved to the slot or outside creating mismatches. Also taking possession WR Cooper Kupp, who is already making a name for himself in camp. Kupp would take on the role of Pierre Garcon in the Rams new offense, at 6ft 1, and a solid 205lbs, Kupp runs precise routes, getting separation with quickness and precision. Able to work from the slot or outside, with decent speed(4.54) Kupp will be a 3rd down chain mover. With holdover WR Tavon Austin being undersized, and a bit injury prone. The Rams also drafted former Texas A&M speedster WR Josh Reynolds, at 6ft 3 and 200lbs, Reynolds is a long strider with gliding speed to close a cushion in a flash. Using his length to extend and stab catches away from his body, with excellent locating skills, reliable focus on deep balls to high-point and secure the football. Reynolds is a home run threat downfield that DB’s will have to respect, giving the Rams a bigger version of speedster Deshawn Jackson. Im not saying that the Rams offense will put up the same numbers that McVay had with the Redskins, but the pieces are there to improve what was a horrible offense last year. If star RB Todd Gurley is healthy, the Rams will have balance so that defenses will not be able to load 8 in the box to overplay Gurley. But it all started with the signing of veteran LT Andrew Whitworth, the Rams may very well surprise the NFL in 2017.